International

New leak on how China runs internment camps

This file photo taken on June 2, 2019 shows buildings at the Artux City Vocational Skills Education Training Service Center, believed to be a re-education camp where mostly Muslim ethnic minorities are detained, north of Kashgar in China's northwestern Xinjiang region.

This file photo taken on June 2, 2019 shows buildings at the Artux City Vocational Skills Education Training Service Center, believed to be a re-education camp where mostly Muslim ethnic minorities are detained, north of Kashgar in China's northwestern Xinjiang region.   | Photo Credit: AFP

‘Officials monitor inmates at all times’

Leaked government documents outlining the need to prevent escape, double lock doors and constantly monitor detainees in China’s network of internment camps in Xinjiang refute Beijing’s defence of “vocational education centres” in the region, experts say.

Obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and published by 17 media outlets worldwide, the documents show the strict protocols governing life in the camps in Xinjiang, where an estimated one million Uighurs and other mostly Muslim minorities are held.

In one document, local officials are told to monitor inmates at all times — including during toilet breaks — to prevent escape.

Staff are also banned from befriending inmates and engaging in “personal interactions” to prevent “collusion”, the document read.

“It shatters (the Chinese Communist Party’s) CCP’s narrative about these camps as benign vocational training centres where Uighurs and other Chinese Muslim(s) willingly undertake training,” said James Leibold, an expert on ethnic relations in China and a professor at Melbourne’s La Trobe University.

The leak comes one week after The New York Times reported, based on more than 400 pages of internal papers, that Chinese President Xi Jinping ordered officials to act with “absolutely no mercy” against separatism and extremism in a 2014 speech following a Uighur militant attack on a train station.

In light of ICIJ’s investigation, China’s Foreign Ministry remained dismissive, with spokesman Geng Shuang on Monday accusing “some media” of “smearing China’s counter-terrorism and anti-extremism efforts in Xinjiang”.

The Chinese embassy in London denied such documents existed.

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Printable version | Feb 21, 2020 9:31:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/new-leak-on-how-china-runs-internment-camps/article30079087.ece

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